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Budapest TOP Attractions 


Castle Hill

Castle Hill is a 1,5km long hill, overlooking the Danube, located in Budapest’s No1 District.

The Old Town occupies the larger part of Castle Hill – it is also referred to as the Buda Castle; the Royal Palace occupies the southern portion.

Because of its medieval origins, 17th and 18th centuries monuments, and its historical significance, the Old Town is Budapest’s primary tourist attraction. It has been on UNESCO’S World Heritage List since 1987.

Castle Hill, Budapest
Castle Hill, Budapest

The most important sights in the castle are the Mátyás Church, the Fishermen’s Bastion and the Royal Palace. Walking along the medieval streets of the Old Town one comes across numerous historic dwellings, public buildings as well as many museums. The Castle offers wonderful panoramas of the Danube, its bridges, and of the Pest side.

The Old Town can be comfortably approached on foot via a track under the Fishermen’s Bastion, via the funicular railway, or by bus.

Castle Hill, Budapest
Castle Hill, Budapest

Buda Royal Palace

The history of the building of the former Royal Palace, on the southern end of Castle Hill, can be traced back to as early as the 13th century.  

The construction of an impressively large, Gothic style Royal Palace was completed in 1424, during the reign of King Zsigmond ( Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund). Under the rule of King Mátyás I, the Palace was modified in the Renaissance style. During the siege of 1686, when the Christian forces finally drove out the Turks from Buda, the Palace was extensively damaged. The remains were razed to the ground, and, between 1714 and 1723, a new, smaller palace was built on the same site.

Buda Royal Palace, Budapest
Buda Royal Palace, Budapest

Under Queen Mária Terézia work was begun in 1749 on a larger palace, containing 203 rooms. The Palace was further enlarged from 1890, based on the design of Miklós Ybl; following his death Alajos Hauszmann took over this work, completing it in 1903. During the bombardment of Budapest in 1945, the buildings were completely gutted by fire, but were fully restored during the 1950’s.

Currently the Palace houses the Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galéria), the Budapest History Museum (Budapesti Rörténeti Muzeum) and the Széchenyi National Library (Országos Széchenyi Könyvtár). The Palace grounds are often used to stage cultural programs and festivals.

Buda Royal Palace, Budapest
Buda Royal Palace, Budapest

Attraction: The Buda Royal Palace  (Budavári Palota)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Buda, I. district

Transport: M2 Moszkva tér and várbusz (castle bus)

Address: Budapest, Budavári palota

Buda Royal Palace, Budapest
Buda Royal Palace, Budapest

Fishermen’s Bastion

The Neo-Romanesque Fishermen’s Bastion, located behind the Mátyás Church, was erected between 1895 and 1902, on a site where previously the medieval castle walls had stood. The structure, which is a prominent landmark in the city, was designed by Frigyes Schulek. During the Middle-Ages the fish-market was located next to the church, and the Fishermen’s Guild was responsible for defending the adjacent section of the fortification – hence the name for the new structure. However, at the time of its construction, the Fishermen’s Bastion no longer had a defensive function.

Fishermen Bastion, Budapest
Fishermen Bastion, Budapest

The structure terminates at each end in a bastion. In all, it has seven turrets – representing the seven leaders of the Hungarian Conquest. The most distinctive is the richly decorated northern tower. Elaborately decorated flights of stairs lead up from the Viziváros district to the Bastion. From the turrets, terraces and walkways, a wonderful view can be enjoyed of the Danube, Pest and the Margaret Island.

Fishermen Bastion, Budapest
Fishermen Bastion, Budapest

Attraction: The Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Buda, I. district

Transport:M2: Moszkva tér and várbusz

Address: Budapest, Szentháromság tér

Fishermen Bastion, Budapest
Fishermen Bastion, Budapest

Matthias Church

The Mátyás Church is one of Budapest’s, and Hungary’s, most important religious monuments. Numerous important historical events have taken place within its walls.

Known officially as Buda Castle’s  Church of Our Lady Mary, or as Buda Castle’s Coronation Church  - it is commonly referred to as  the Mátyás church. The exact date of its foundation is not known, but it was probably built during the time of King Bela IV - in the middle of the 13th century -  in the Early-Gothic style. The size and main features of the church’s layout were determined by King Zsigmond and King Mátyás during the 15th century.

Under the Turkish occupation, which lasted approximately 150 years, it was converted into a mosque; after the recapture of the Castle, it was rebuilt in the Baroque style. The church gained its final form during the rebuilding carried out at the end of the 19th century.

The vaulting, dating from the Middle Ages, was so badly damaged that it required renovations; based on the plans of Frigyes Schulek, these were carried out in the Neo-Gothic style.

Matthias Church, Budapest
Matthias Church, Budapest

Attraction: Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Buda I. district

Transport: M2 Moszkva tér and várbusz

Address: Budapest, Országház u. 14

Phone: 1/ 489-0716

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Open: Mon-Fri 9-17, Sat 9-12, Sun 13-17

Price: 650 HUF

Gellért Hill

Gellért Hill is a very popular beauty spot, the top of which can be accessed via tourist tracks   from several sides.

This dolomite hill, towering over the Danube between the Elizabeth (Erzsébet) and Liberty (Szabadság) Bridges, offers panoramic views of the Danube Valley and over Pest. Reaching an elevation of 235m at its highest point, the cliff-face overlooking the Danube rises a sheer 130m above the river.

According to legend some of the pagan members of the community, in 1046, not wishing to be converted to Christianity, rolled Bishop Gellért to his death from the top of the Hill in a sealed barrel – hence the name of the hill.

Gellert Hill and Danube, Budapest
Gellert Hill and Danube, Budapest

There are a number of medicinal springs located at the foot of the Hill which, amongst others, feed the Gellért, Rudas and Rác Baths.

The 220m long, 45-60m wide Citadel was erected on the top of Gellért Hill by the Habsburg forces, following the suppression of the 1848-9 uprising. Exhibitions, covering a number of different themes, can be seen within the inner courtyard and outside the walls of the Citadel. Since the 1960’s, the Citadel has served as a tourist attraction, which, besides the exhibitions, also boasts a hotel and several restaurants.

Citadella, Budapest
Citadella, Budapest

Attraction: Gellért Hill (Gellérthegy)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Buda, XI district

Transport: tram 47, 49

Parliament House

This is one of the capital’s, in fact the nation’s, most imposing buildings. Built between 1884 and 1902, based on Imre Steindl’s design, the Neo-Gothic building is one of the symbols of the capital.

With its imposing 96m height, and 268m length, it is one of the definitive buildings along the banks of the Danube. Eighty-eight statues decorate its main façade, which overlooks the Danube.

The part of the building facing Kossuth Square consists of three parts: the dome at the centre, and rising on its two sides - the House of Representatives and the Congress Hall. From the main entrance, via the ceremonial stairway, one reaches the great domed hall with its star-vaulted ceiling; this is frequently used for national ceremonial events.

Parliament House - Budapest
Parliament House - Budapest

The Hunters’ Room, the Members’ Chamber and Lounge, and the Congressional Chamber and Lounge are also worth a visit. The Parliamentary Library, which is of nationally significance, can be found on the Danube side of the building. Groups can only visit the Parliament Building with advanced booking.

Attraction: Parliament House (Parlament)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Pest, V. district

Transport: M2 Kossuth tér

Address: Budapest, Kossuth tér 1-3.

Phone: 1/ 441-4000

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Open: Mon-Fri 8-18, Sat 8-16, Sun 8-14

Price: EU; other countries: adults - 2,520 HUF, students 1,260 HUF

Guided tours: English (10;12;14); German (weekdays 11; 15; Sun 11); French (14); Russian (weekdays 15; Sun 12.30 ); Hebrew (10.30 ; 13.30 ); Italian (weekdays 11.30 ; 16; Sun 11.30; May 1-September 30. Sun 12.15 ); Spanish (weekdays 11.30 ; 16 ; Sun 11.30) . During Parliamentary sessions and official receptions tours shall not be held and advanced bookings shall be postponed to a later date.

Parliament House - Budapest
Parliament House - Budapest


Erection of the St István Parish Church, generally known as The Basilica, was commenced in 1851, but was not completed until 1905. The Neo-Renaissance style church is the largest in the capital, with a length of 86m, breadth of 55m and a height of 96m.

Because of the narrow confines of Saint István Square, the best view of the Basilica can be obtained from Castle Hill (Várhegy) on the opposite side of the Danube. One’s main impression of the church is of its monumental size, rather than of the restrained, interior decoration.

Budapest Basilica
Budapest Basilica

Attraction: The Basilica (Szent István Bazilika)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Pest, V. district

Transport: M3 Arany János utca or M1 Bajcsy-Zsilinszky utca

Address: Budapest, Szent István tér




Open: church Mon-Sat 9-19, Sun 13-17, chapel: 10-16, cupola: Apr-Oct 10-17

Price: church free, cupola 500 HUF, chapel 150 HUF

Guided tours: Mon-Fri: 11.00, 14.00, 15.30; Sat: 11.00; ticket (adult/children)1600/1200 HUF

Danube Bridges

Eight road bridges and two railway bridges cross the Danube within the precincts of the city. These bridges form an inalienable part of the city-scape. The bridges in the city-centre – the Margaret (Margit), Chain (Lánc), Elizabeth (Erzsébet), and the Liberty (Szabadság) Bridge– are determining elements of the city’s panorama.

Although at the end of World War II, the retreating German forces blew up all the bridges in Budapest, they have all been rebuilt essentially in their original form.

The Margaret Bridge gives access to the southern portion of Margaret Island (Margitsziget).

The  Chain Bridge is Budapest’s first permanent stone bridge. Built at the instigation of Count István Széchenyi, who first proposed such a bridge in 1832, it was finally constructed between 1842 and 1849. It was based on the design of William Tierney Clark, and erected under the supervision of Adam Clark – both Englishmen.

Danube Bridges in Budapest
Danube Bridges in Budapest

The Elizabeth Bridge was rebuilt between 1961 and 1964, on the supports of the previously blown-up bridge – but utilising modern structural elements.

The  Liberty Bridge was the first bridge in Budapest to be rebuilt after World War II; its predecessor (named after Francis Joseph, the Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), was erected between 1894 and 1896 – in time for the Millennium celebrations.

Danube Bridges in Budapest
Danube Bridges in Budapest

Dohány Street Synagogue

The synagogue in Dohány Street is the largest one still functioning in Continental Europe. The use of two towers with onion-shaped domes, as an architectural feature in synagogues, was employed here for the first time in Hungary; it subsequently had a major influence on the evolution of synagogue architecture in the country regions. The plans for the synagogue were prepared by Ludwig Förster, a Viennese architect. The synagogue, built in a Romantic, Eastern style between1854 and 1859 – also incorporated Byzantine-Moorish elements. The most striking features of its exterior are the onion-domed towers and the decorative patterns of lace-like mouldings on its façade. The renovation of the synagogue was completed in 1988.

Entry to both the synagogue, and to the Jewish Museum next-door, can be effected using the same ticket.

The Heroes’ Church, attached to the side of the synagogue, is a memorial to the Jewish dead of the First World War. It was built in 1931, to the design of Lajós Deli and Ferenc Faragó. A memorial cemetery, to the martyrs of the Jewish Ghetto, was established in 1944, adjacent to the sides of the synagogue and the Heroes’ Church.

The Holocaust Memorial, erected in 1989, and the Raul Wallenberg Memorial Garden, can be found in the garden at the back of the synagogue.

The metal “Tree of Life” memorial, created by Imre Varga in the image of a willow-tree, has the name of a different martyr engraved on each of its leaves.

Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest
Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest

Attraction: The Dohány Street Synagogue (Dohány utcai zsinagóga)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Pest, VII. district

Transport: M2: Astoria

Address: Budapest, Dohány utca 2.

Phone: 1/ 342 8949

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Open: Mon-Thu 10-17, Fri 10-15, Sun 10-18, Sat closed

Price: adult 1 200 HUF; student, retired 700 HUF

Guided tours: Single, with guide: adult 1600 - 2600 HUF

Student 1300 - 2300 HUF. Groups, with reservation and guided only: adult 1400 - 2100 HUF, student 1100 - 1700 HUF

Széchenyi Baths

It was as a result of the drillings of geologist Vilmos Zsigmondy, over the period 1868-77, that this medicinal water source, with a temperature of 74˚ C, was brought to the surface.

The medicinal baths section was built at the beginning of the 20th century, in the Neo-Baroque style. The medicinal waters are particularly effective for the treatment of joint and muscle damage, arthritis and neuritis.

During the 1960’s, a physiotherapy section, and a thermal- baths section, were established

The open-air swimming pool, with its sun-bathing terraces and associated four-level building, were completed in 1926.

In 1999, the water supply to the pools was converted to a constant circulatory and filtering system.

Szechenyi Baths, Budapest
Szechenyi Baths, Budapest (Photo: Tourism Office of Budapest)

Name: The Széchenyi Baths (Széchenyi Gyógyfürdő)

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

Location: Pest, XIV. district

Transport: M1 Széchenyi fürdő

Address: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 11.

Phone: 1/ 363-3210

Andrássy Avenue

Andrássy Avenue provides one of Budapest’s most popular venues for strollers.

This radial road, built between 1872 and 1885, indicates the strength of the desire at the time, to develop Budapest into a world-class city.

The buildings and palaces lining the avenue were, in the main, built in the Eclectic and Neo-renaissance styles; one of the most outstanding of these is the State Opera House.

Heros Square, Budapest
Heros Square, Budapest

One of the Avenue’s greatest attractions is the Millennium Underground Railway, this was the second to be built world-wide, and the first on the continent.

Andrássy Avenue was placed on the World Heritage List in 2002.

Andrássy Avenue, Budapest
Andrássy Avenue, Budapest


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